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As the principal of a northeastern middle school, you get a call from a parent who is disturbed because he has heard a rumor that the student literary digest plans to publish a story with a sexual theme. The work is written by a middle school girl who became pregnant during the year and underwent an abortion. You ask for and receive a copy of the narrative.

The girl’s story is actually a cautionary tale of young love that results in an unwanted pregnancy. The author details the abusive home life that led her to engage in an intimate relationship with another student, her pregnancy, her conflict with her parents, her decision to abort, and the emotional turmoil that the incident created. She tells students to use contraception if they are sexually active and recommends appropriate types of birth control. There is nothing provocative or sexually explicit in the work.

Some teachers argue that girls should not be allowed to read this material, because it has sexual content from which they must be protected, and that in a sense it advocates defiance of parents. Also, some parents may object to a story about precocious sexuality because they fear it may encourage their children to experiment. Such behavior is linked to delinquency and drug abuse. Those who advocate publication believe that girls have a right to read about such important s and decide on their own course of action.

I disagree. Students should be aware of this behavior and should be able to read the published work.